Artivist, observes and reports on developments in the Bali and Indonesian art scenes
Art Bali co-curator Ignatia Nilu during the Artists & Curator tour Oct. 14 at the AB BC Building. (Richard Horstman/Richard Horstman)
The Balinese Pawukon calendar is not used to measure time; it sets smaller cycles within larger ones. Its purpose is to pinpoint certain days that help to provide a cultural framework for how people may most effectively conduct certain social, religious, agrarian and creative activities on the most auspicious days, according to their sacred beliefs. The month of October presents many appropriate dates to hold artistic events; therefore, it is crammed full of art and creative happenings. Unofficially, it is the “Bali Art Month”.
This favorable timing has provided the unique opportunity -- and inspired the creative communities of Bali along with visiting internationals -- to present a diverse program of events of a caliber that rivals those of the creative hubs of Java, such as the popular Jogja Art Weeks held earlier this year throughout Yogyakarta and Bandung Art Month that recently concluded in mid-September in West Java.
This year welcomes the publication of the first Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road, a pocket guidebook that charts a plethora of events around the island, spanning three months beginning in October and ending in December. These events include exhibitions, film screenings, music, dance and theater performances, discussions, open studios and festivals, and each listing is complete with relevant details and appropriate maps.
“When I travel to other cities within Indonesia or abroad, I find having a guidebook focusing specifically on art and design is very helpful for discovering and exploring the local creative scenes,” said Suriawati Qiu, Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road co-director and co-founder of CushCush Gallery in Denpasar.
“There are many art and creative communities and spaces in Denpasar and Bali that are, unfortunately, relatively unknown to the public. Having Bali’s own Art+Design guidebook will benefit both our creative communities, who are doing amazing works, as well as travelers and locals alike who are interested in art and design.”
The Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Art Roads (Richard Horstman/Richard Horstman)
The Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road has evolved from the DenPasar Art+Design Map first published in 2017 in conjunction with DenPasar Art+Design program, a collective effort by the creative communities of Denpasar with CushCush Gallery as the central activities venue. It sought to mark the city, with its distinct character, as a hub for contemporary arts, design and culture.
This year, CushCush Gallery is collaborating with ART • BALI, the second annual Indonesian contemporary art exhibition organized by Heri Pemad Management of Yogyakarta, Central Java. Themed SPECULATIVE MEMORIES, it is being held until Jan. 13 at the AB • BC Building, Bali Collection, ITDC district, Nusa Dua, Bali. The exhibition presents 49 selected works, consisting of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, multimedia and video from 32 Indonesian and overseas artists who reside or work in Indonesia. It showcases some of the finest established and emerging contemporary artists in Bali’s premiere, purpose-built, international-standard exhibition space to local and foreign audiences.
Bali Arts Roads (BAR) was an initiative introduced by ART • BALI in 2018 as a side program to highlight and promote the Balinese art community through exhibitions, events and open-studio programs throughout the island. This year, it has combined with the DenPasar Art+Design Map to create a 180-page booklet that helps to consolidate Bali’s diverse array of creativity. The guide covers events and programs not only in Denpasar, but also in Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu and Nusa Dua, from October through December, with over 130 events listed. The booklet features a QR Code that pinpoints select event destinations on Google Maps to allow direct and straightforward navigation.
The guide also includes important cultural and institutional locations such as museums, government and cultural sites, art and design educational institutions, public spaces and monuments within the city of Denpasar. Some of the festivals featured are Seminyak Design Week 2019, themed “Designing for a Better Community,” held until Oct. 27 and running with a program of exhibitions, talks, pop-up markets, a design trail and workshops at Gallery Vivere and Uma Seminyak; the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival held from Oct. 23 to 27 (festival events noted within the booklet); and Kita Lo Gini 5 at ISI Denpasar, a student art party presenting artworks and performances held on Oct. 25 and 26.
Other diverse happenings include Urban Walk Denpasar, a free and open guided tour of Denpasar heritage sites on Nov. 2; Herb Walk on Oct. 27, an investigation into the edible medicinal plants and related practices; Basic Macrame Workshop on Oct. 12 at CANAAN X ROU, Seminyak; Curator in Residence, a program initiated by DenPasar Art + Design: In Transition held in November and December at CushCush Gallery, Denpasar, with the curatorial conversation on Dec. 14; the first international conference on architecture, technology and urban sustainability International Conference ICATUS 2019 from Nov. 27 to 28 at the Postgraduate Building, Udayana University, Denpasar; and Canasta Theater Parade on Nov. 23 through Nov. 30 at Canasta Creative Space Denpasar featuring Balinese theater communities.
A few of October’s art exhibitions include Natisa Jones’ Love is Never Lonely exhibition until Nov. 9 at Tony Raka Gallery, Ubud, which is a “diversion” from her signature style of painting; Frequency Balinese Art, Culture and Rerajahan at ARMA, in Ubud which showcases a collection of Balinese amulet inscriptions known as rerajahan by Jro Mangku Badra, displayed in an artistic context and created without the sacred rituals and mantras that seek to instill the ink drawings with their mystical powers; It Isn’t a Whole solo exhibition by Putu Adi Suanjaya until Nov. 24 at Artotel Sanur; and There is no Truth only HONESTY art exhibition by Children of Bares Studio until Oct. 31 at the Njana Tilem Museum.
The ongoing mission of Kemal Ezedine and Ketut Moniarta from the Neo Pitamaha art movement is to invigorate Balinese art by inspiring young artists to explore fresh possibilities within the technical context of the Balinese painting traditions. Drawing Bali Today runs at Sika Gallery, Ubud, until Nov. 10. Sudra Sutra, held until Oct. 19, was an iconographical interpretation of the Yeh Pulu reliefs and related history by Dr. Wayan Kun Adnyana at Neka Art Museum, Ubud. It was a continuation of his visual representation inspired by the ancient Yeh Pulu stone reliefs in Bedhulu Gianyar.
Mahardika group exhibition at TiTian Art Space Nyuh Kunning, Ubud. (Richard Horstman/Richard Horstman)
Megarupa will open on Oct. 22 at ARMA Ubud with coinciding exhibitions at two other venues, the Neka Art Museum and Bentara Budaya Bali featuring the works of 103 artists, presented by the Cultural Office of the Provence of Bali. TiTian Art Space in its new premises on Jl. Raya Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, presents Mahardika, a group exhibition, until Nov. 24. Meanwhile, Taman Baca in Sanggingan Ubud presents Stories from Mt. Agung, where children’s stories of trauma are expressed through drawing and poetry. Maladjustment will run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 24 at Neka Art Museum and present iconic artworks by Indonesian artists Arahmaiani and I GAK Murniasih along with Australian artist Mary Lou Pavlovic who will feature her landmark, 2004 work Liar!
Denpasar and Bali are continuing to develop into exciting and engaging destinations for national and international creatives to visit regularly or to reside in permanently. In recent years, the island’s art and design infrastructure has experienced defining new growth. This provides more opportunities for participants to thrive within the burgeoning 21st-century creative economy while leading to a healthier ecosystem. These developments have stimulated art and cultural tourism on the island of Bali.
The Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road booklet is available from numerous program participants and has been distributed to more than 70 locations throughout Bali. It is also available from the AB • BC Building, Bali Collection, Nusa Dua. It can also be downloaded here. (wng)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.